During the sixteenth century, the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots engages in over two decades of religious and political conflict with her cousin, the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England, amidst political intrigue in her native land.
When Elizabeth Tudor comes to the throne, her (male) advisers know she has to marry. Doesn't she? Thus starts a decades-long political/ matrimonial game, during an age of high passions and high achievement.
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Mary Stuart, named Queen of Scotland when she was six days old, is the last Roman Catholic ruler of Scotland. Her cousin Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England, and her arch adversary, has her imprisoned at age twenty-three. Nineteen years later, Mary is executed, removing the last threat to Elizabeth's throne. The two Queens' contrasting personalities make a dramatic counterpoint to history.Written by
Mary is seen enjoying a late-morning cup of hot chocolate in bed (and even requesting it when she is a prisoner) despite this not being a popular drink in the British Isles until well into the 18th century. See more »
Vanessa Redgrave portrays an excellent Queen of Scots in this film; Mary Stuart's frivolity, passion for life, religious devotion, and emotion-stirring conscience is perfectly captured by this talented actress. Similarly, the vanity, arrogance, and evil self-assuredness of the weakling Henry Lord Darnley shone through in Timothy Dalton's words and actions. But, without desecrating the skills displayed by Dalton and Redgrave, I was riveted by the scenes in the English Court. Glenda Jackson, as Elizabeth of England, has completely captured the hearts and imaginations of the audience as the best actress to ever play the Virgin Queen, and as I watched her manipulate her Catholic enemies and rise above the snares of danger that her fellow Queen blindly stumbled into, I was amazed at her complete understanding of the role. In my opinion, Elizabeth can be no easy character to portray, but Jackson clearly demonstrates a clear knowledge of the complicated workings of this Queen's mind. Also wonderfully brought to life are the struggles for approval amongst her leading ministers, William Cecil (played by Trevor Howard) and Robert Dudley (Daniel Massey). Cecil's endless determination to lead the Queen in best interests of the nation are admirable, and Dudley's endless devotion (though sometimes portrayed as ambition and avarice) is touching. Unfortunately, the script seems to rush through the complicated and fascinating tale of the Queen of Scots' harrowing 7 years on her Scotch throne. All in all, I recommend this movie to anyone interested in Mary, or, even if your tastes run more to Elizabeth than her impulsive cousin, I believe you will be more than satisfied.
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